herb roasted vegetables and gravy, with crispy kale on creamy polenta

it’s fall, so i can legitmately start roasting vegetables and overdosing on kale again. i tend to do that a little in the warmer months but it just seems kind of wrong. that’s a time for eating the food that you can really enjoy raw and inhaling the watery fruits and vegetables that only thrive in the sun. but i really do look forward to the cooking that comes in cooler months, when flavours are a bit richer and “comfort food” is the euphemism for eating creamy, savoury things.

beans and caps ready and waiting

pre-roasted bean, potatoes and garlic seasoned tomatoes and mushrooms

so i started with my craving for polenta–the creamy kind, not the fried or cake-y kind, though i do love it that way too. and in my haste to have all the roasted vegetables i love, i made a little of all of them… and a whole head of roasted garlic! “why choose”, is one of my mottos…and the oven was already going to be on, so…

three packed cups of kale... ...torn into little pieces...

...and roasted to crispy perfection

and since there would have to be kale, i roasted that too. roasted kale is almost as addictive as potato chips–and i do not take that statement lightly. i cannot stop myself from eating an entire bag of potato chips once i crack that seal, but i defy you to have just one perfectly roasted, salted, crispy kale chip.

creamy polenta a moment away from serving

creamy polenta? check.

a cup of parmesan for complexity and extravagance? check and check!

some gooood gravy

but the part of this meal that i hadn’t planned on making was a gravy to tie it all together. i just couldn’t let the juices that seeped out of mushrooms and cherry tomatoes go to waste. with some of that roasted garlic and a splash of a few high-flavour sauces, this gravy reminded me of worcestershire sauce. could it be i created a veg-friendly substitute? you tell me…

(click below to continue to recipe!)

 

herb roasted vegetables and gravy, with crispy kale on creamy polenta

for the vegetables:

400 g green beans, tipped

330 g grape tomatoes, halved (12 oz, or 1 small package)

1 1/4 lbs of potatoes, cut into small pieces about 2cm X 1 cm in size

2 portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1 inch pieces

3 packed cups of kale, torn into 1-2 inch pieces

1 head of garlic, skin on, top sliced off so that the tops of all of the bulbs are exposed

marinade:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbs, plus 1/4 tsp

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp salt, plus 3/8 tsp

1/2 tsp pepper, plus 3/8 tsp

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

in a large bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of oil and 1/2 tsp each: dried thyme, marjoram, sage, salt and pepper. add potatoes to bowl, and mix well to coat, then using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to one half of a roasting sheet, draining marinade back into bowl. add beans to the bowl, toss and transfer beans to other half of the roasting sheet, again reserving as much marinade in the bowl as possible.

next, arrange a sheet of foil securely on a second roasting sheet (four-sided), covering the sides if possible. add the mushrooms to the remaining marinade and toss well. they should absorb the remaining marinade. transfer them to half of the foil-lined sheet. arrange the tomatoes on the other half of the sheet, drizzle them with 1 tbs of oil, and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. centre the garlic head on a piece of foil large enough to wrap it, and drizzle 1/4 tsp of oil onto the cut side. wrap the garlic up in foil and put it onto the foil-lined roasting sheet.

put both roasting trays into oven. after 30 minutes, remove the foil-lined tray. (the potatoes and beans need 15 more minutes in the oven.) with a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms and tomatoes to an oven-safe bowl, keeping them seperate as much as possible. pour off the oil and liquid from tomatoes and mushrooms (you should have about 1/4 cup) into a small saucepan. remove garlic head from the foil, and squeeze 3 cloves into the saucepan. set the remainder aside.

remove foil from the roasting sheet (it may still be hot so use caution), and re-line with a new sheet of foil. place kale pieces on the foil-lined sheet and add the remaining tbs of oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. toss the kale well to coat all of the pieces, then arrange them in a single layer on the foil. place this sheet in oven for 15 minutes, and move on to making the gravy.

for the gravy:

1/4 cup roasting juices from tomato and mushrooms

3 cloves roasted garlic

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1tbs soy sauce

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tsp sriacha (or other) hot sauce

1/2 tsp salt

you should have the juices and the garlic in the saucepan. set it over medium-high heat. add the remaining ingredients. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. cover to keep warm.

peek in on the kale. it should be starting to crisp up but kale can burn quickly so check it for any parts that are starting to brown. after 15 minutes in the oven, they should be dark green and slightly translucent-looking, with a few darker or brown spots. at this time, remove the tray of kale and loosen the leaves from the foil (a rubber spatula works well). sprinkle with maldon salt or other coarse salt). the potatoes and beans will also be fully roasted. remove the sheet from the oven and loosen the potatoes and beans from the sheet. turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for five minutes to let some of the heat escape. then put the tray of potatoes and bean, and the bowl of tomatoes and mushrooms back in the oven and close the door to keep the vegetables warm. the kale chips do not need to be served warm so they can sit out and come to room temperature. lastly, make the polenta.

for the polenta:

2 cups milk (2% or full fat)

2 cups water

3 cloves roasted garlic

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup polenta

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

add milk, water, salt and pepper to a medium saucepan. squeeze 3 cloves of garlic from the bulb roasted earlier into the saucepan. (refrigerate the remaining garlic in an air-tight for use over the next few days, to spread on toast, to eat anyway you like–just don’t toss it!) set saucepan over medium-high heat and watch carefully once it starts to heat up. as soon as it starts to boil, pour polenta into the liquid in a slow stream, whisking quickly as you pour to avoid clumping. lower heat slightly and continue to whisk fairly constantly for 10-12 minutes. you’ll know the polenta is done when the liquid is fully absorbed and the polenta has swelled and pulls away from the sides. add grated parmesan, stir until it melts. check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

serve polenta into bowls and dole out roasted vegetables, kale chips and drizzle with gravy–or transfer vegetables to a large platter, gravy to a bowl and serve family style for everyone to serve themselves. either way, serve immediately and eat while hot.

serves 4.